Friday 30 November 2012

A potters netsuke collection

The Hare with Amber Eyes is a book by Edmund de Waal - a potter. It describes his inheritance of an incredible collection of 264 antique Japanese Netsuke - tiny carved animals or ornaments. His website is here.

The Hare is shown below.

STYN Pinball Printer

Sam van Doorn has created a modified pinball machine that allows users to create a unique print - the pinball is modified so that a sheet of paper goes in it and the ball is inked. The final images look like colourful bubble chamber plots. His site is HERE.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Bear Hunt

One of the very best books for children is Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury's classic We're Going On a Bear Hunt  (HERE)

The Guardian has a great piece today in which the writer and illustrator describe how they made the book (HERE). 

Illustration: © 1989 Helen Oxenbury.

Sunday 4 November 2012

An Examination into the Structure of the Cells of the Human Lungs

Although best know for botanical art Franz Bauer was also an excellent anatomical artist. 

Below is a figure from "An Examination into the Structure of the Cells of  the Human Lungs; with a View to Ascertain the Office They Perform in Respiration." by Everard Home and F. Bauer published in the Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond.  1827 117, 58-64. This paper and others with Bauer illustrations are available as PDF's from the Royal Society (HERE).

The figure caption reads:
Fig 1. represents 1/64th part of an inch of the external surface of the human lung, the cells of which are filled with quicksilver; magnified 20 diameters.

Fig. 2. a transverse section of 1/64th part of an inch of the human ling, in which the arteries are filled with red and the veins with yellow minute injection ; magnified 20 diameters.

Saturday 3 November 2012

On making drawings of microscopic subjects

The Austrian botanical illustrator Franz Bauer came from a family of gifted artists (HERE).  Franz spent nearly 50 years at Kew gardens as a botanical artist (HERE).

Bauer was also one of the most keen eyed observers of his day. He used a range of microscopes and developed his own observation techniques. For example in November 1836 he wrote a letter to Andrew Pritchard describing his method for making accurate microscopic drawings. This letter was published in 1837 as an Appendix to Micrographia by C.R. Goring & Andrew Pritchard (HERE).

The Appendix written by Franz Bauer is entitled "On making drawings of microscopic subjects". Bauer used two ruled glass micrometers (or graticules) both ruled into squares that were 1/40th inch on their sides. One of the graticules was placed in the eyepiece and the other on the stage. The magnification of the microscope was then adjusted until an integral number of the eyepiece divisions fit into a single division of the stage graticule. This meant he could calculate magnification. He could then leave the maicroscope set up and remove the stage graticule. When he now drew what he saw on paper he first drew a sguare grid of one inch squares. Thus he could accurately record on paper the magnification of the object.

One of his figures is shown.

A is 2 1/2 400ths of an inch long and 1/900th inch wide.
B is 2/400ths of an inch long
C is 1/400th of an inch long
D is 1/800th of an inch

The three fossil animacules in E are about 1/1200th inch long

And from Bauers description;
"The globular fungi at F are 1-1600th part of an inch in diameter, and the very minute globules of blood at G are each about 1-2400th or 1-2500th part of an inch in diameter."

Note that 1/2500th of an inch is about 10 microns.

Red blood cells are 6-8 microns in diameter.

Thursday 1 November 2012

Passion fruit pollen

HERE is a beautiful scanning electron microscopy image of three passion fruit pollen grains. Taken by    Louisa Howard - Dartmouth College EM Facility.